Tag Archives: Worry

Heads Up!

Today is a day of prayer for Texas, and indeed for the USA. With everything going on in the world today, it’s a good day to pray and to praise the Lord for the good He has done and will do. May He lead us through all the turmoil and trouble in paths of righteousness for His names sake. 

Thankfully, our joy does not depend on things going on around us. Despite the day’s news of trouble, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

“You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” Psalms‬ ‭92:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ever Present Peace

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

Paul often opened and closed his letters with a blessing of peace and hope of the realization of God’s presence for the reader. He knew it was vital for the heart of the person to trust the presence of the Lord in life and circumstance so they would walk in the peace of God.

Peace disturbed signals that the mind’s eyes shifted focal point, turning from trust in God and His presence in life to the problems inherent in life’s difficulties. Peter sank when his eyes shifted from Jesus to the enormous waves coming at them, faith disturbed by his eye’s understanding of the situation. As a baby learning to walk, falls when looking away from the outstretched arms of the parent, so we find ourselves stumbling through life when we fail to fix our eyes on Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Trouble in life is often overwhelming, for when in the midst of it, it is difficult to see the path through it. Turning eyes to God, knowing He sees and knows all fully, while trusting His greatness that far exceeds any trouble, quiets the soul. Realizing His closeness to us, His presence in our day-to-day lives, His trustworthiness toward us who look to Him, brings His gift of peace and the assurance of His hand made ready to move on our behalf. Looking to Him stills us so that we may know God and receive from Him the wisdom needed to face the storm. With eyes on Him, we hear the voice of the Lord speak to our storm, “Peace! Be still” (Mark 4:35-41, KJV).

~*~

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” ~ Hebrews 13:20-21.

See also John 14:1; 23-27; Hebrews 13: 5, AMPC; Psalm 37:3-9; Psalm 46.

Difficult Things 2-C ~ A Faith That Moves Mountains: Personal Testimony (Long)

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord” ~ Lamentations 3:21-26.

My journey of learning to walk by faith, knowing I can trust God for every need, began with a very small issue that was mountainous to me. A wart on my hand refused to heal, despite every effort.

On the day I was considering the need to go to our medical doctor and let him take care of it, I walked into our living room where a TV program was talking about a little booklet, just out at that time, titled, “My Heart, Christ’s Home.” They were talking about the “room” of our heart where faith resides. Struck by the discourse, I went back to the kitchen I was in the process of cleaning, praying along the way for God to grow my faith. The person sharing the booklet suggested asking God to point to a particular need that He would use to enliven our journey to increased faith that fully trusts in Him. Doing so, as I reached into the sink for the next dish, I bumped the wart.

Memory of my mother telling me of a time when I had several warts on my hand came instantly to mind. She said they could not afford to do anything medically for it at that time, so she prayed for God’s healing, and He took care of it: within a week, they were gone. There it was! Revelation of the conduit for my beginning on the journey to grow in faith that fully trusts and looks to God. Praying for God’s healing to increase my faith to trust Him more, I went on with life. Not many days later, again doing dishes, I saw it, my perfectly healed hand. I forgot about the wart after giving it to the Lord and paid no attention until reaching into the water again reminded me. Ever since then, just the inkling of a wart meets with prayers of faith that trusts God. I have not had one wart since. In fact, one threatened to rise up just last week, and it is gone because God is faithful.

My journey of growth to greater levels of faith continues today. Our God is so very great; He is beyond any ability we have to fully comprehend His glory and power this side of eternity. I am convinced that, no matter how strong we grow in our knowledge of and understanding of Him, when we meet Him in eternity, amazement will be ours as we meet a Father much greater than we can ever comprehended in this life. Every situation we face presents us with opportunity to grow in faith as we come to better understand our God. Acts 17 tells us:

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist…” ~ vs. 24-28.

God’s desire is that we grow in our knowledge of Him, and the purpose of every experience under the sun is that we reach for His hand expecting to find it. This is the journey of ever-growing faith.

My husband and I are in new territory for us even now that is giving ample opportunity to seek and find the hand of God in ways never before experienced by us. My beloved husband of over 40 years received a diagnosis of stage 4 prostate cancer just a few weeks ago. He had no common symptoms of prostate issues, thus the advanced state (Men, it is vital you have a physical every year that includes a prostate exam and PSA lab work). The symptoms he does have pointed to a myriad of possibilities. Addressing the most likely cause first, his presenting symptom went on for 10 months before another symptom finally led to looking more closely at what was going on. So here we are, on a journey that, short of God’s work in my husband’s body, has us facing the reality that his life may end sooner than desired by us.

Seeking God as the shock of the diagnoses of earthly medicine hit, Father made it clear that He is in control. This thing is not outside the scope of His plan nor beyond the reach of His hand. He has purpose in this season and will accomplish it. This is a journey set by God to increase faith in us as we seek the Lord’s direction for each and every step. God’s purpose in this health issues is to give us opportunity to seek Him so we may grow in our knowledge of Him. As we do, we take every opportunity to share the journey in ways that help the faith and growth of those walking with us. You are now part of that group.

In our journey, we are discovering as never before the greatest of faith that cries out as Jesus did, “Yet not my will, but Your will be done.” We seek God, having our desire in the outcome, but we know God’s will is of greatest importance and must prevail, for His purpose will see its fulfillment. The soil for the seed of faith is always and only in the calling and equipping of God available to us in the things that challenge our faith. If we are not in the center of God’s will, reaching for His Hand in any given situation, His power and supply for our ability will not be there to help us. Faith either fails to sprout forth to accomplish any good thing because of immaturity, or because of lack of obedience that fails to receive the nutrients available to us in the soil of life-challenges. Growing and productive seeds for abundant life root out by faith in God, revealed as such through trusting obedience to Him, bearing the fruit of righteousness.

Faith seeks God first, finds His will and way for the path ahead, and walks that path with assurance that He is in control, leading to the outcome of His choosing. Faith trusts that the One who sees and knows all things, from beginning of time to end of days, is working a plan that establishes and accomplishes our divinely appointed role in this life.

All the good we seek to do can only come to fulfill His will and purpose as we grope for Him, finding His hand to lead us to it. Fighting death as if it is the mountain is a waste of energy apart from God’s leading in the fight. Short of the Rapture coming to take us, death is a promise to all human flesh. Death is the natural course of life in this shell we call “body”, and God is the one who sets in place the time and method of our death. Unless raptured, we will all one-day die.

God’s word tells us that He plans the number of our days while there is yet one of them. Before we are born, He knows our hour of death, because He set the course of our life and planned how each breath fits His eternal purpose. Our walk of faith is to grasp for His hand with every step, trusting Him to direct our paths to fulfill the purpose He planned before we were born. Continue in attempts to do what we see as good without waiting on God to direct, equip, and establish our path, and we deplete the soil of the heart, using up resources meant for other things, and missing the mark of fulfilling His purpose.

Depleted soil cannot bear good fruit. That is when our everyday ministry begins to falter as we deplete resources given for it while trying to do more than God calls us to do. Johnny has strength to keep working because God set His feet on the path and Johnny trusts God for each step. He is not fretting over things He cannot control. Though he is putting up the fight against cancer as God leads us to, He knows God is the only one who can bring the victory. God’s will for Johnny’s life will be done.

My husband’s health issue is a huge mountainous challenge in our lives, but it is not the only mountain, nor even the main one. Death being part of life, the mountain to cast away is anything in us that hinders our facing it with faith, hope, and trust in God, knowing He will not allow our death one instant before He fulfills His plan in us. The mountain God reveals to me is most important to Him is the things in us that hinder our faith and rob of strength needed for us to walk this journey well, in ways that glorify Him. Oh how sad it would be to come to the end of our days and fail to finish strong in faith filled obedience to God, being too busy fighting death to live the life He gives us!

One of the biggest challenges revealed so far on our journey is the mountain of my need to control things. My routines are messed up, and my calendar is no longer my own. I know. It never truly was, not if I truly follow God; but all sense of time ever belonging to me to control is falling to the wayside, as we must do what is necessary to travel the path God has us walking. We often get calls to remind of appointments one of his doctors set up without consulting us. The reminder for the appointment becomes the first we knew of it, reminding us that our calendar is not our own: it must rest in God’s capable hands (Psalm 37:23; 40:2; Proverbs 16:9). Household duties and my husband’s work duties pile up as we spend time normally put to those things, running to appointments and tending to health needs.

As we seek God in every challenge Johnny’s health journey brings, God directs us step by step. He is pouring strength to my husband, thus far protecting him from the side effects of chemo and symptoms common to his illness, empowering him to keep working and to get the work done as he gets to it. Hubby’s patience has always amazed me, and his ability to let God be God in this hour is strengthening my own.

As for me, God told me shortly after this journey began to fret not over things that can wait, but pick my battles with His priorities at heart, reserving the energy I need to be the wife Johnny needs in this season. That wisdom and the faith to let God have control, knowing God will provide the energy and ability for each thing in its time, brought down a huge mountain in me as I surrendered my times to God’s care, trusting my days to Him.

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me. Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; save me in Your lovingkindness. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You…” ~ Psalm 31:14-17a.

When faced with an issue that looks like a mountain to overcome, the first step is to go to the Father and ask if we are the one to tackle it. The voice of persecution from God’s enemy often comes as a sense of urgency to jump on tasks that are truly unimportant in that moment, only serving to rob of needed strength for things we do need to take care of. We must seek His revelation to know if that thing in front of our eyes is a mountain He wants us to face, and whether it is one to cast aside or whether it is His provision of a place of fertile soil for our spiritual growth and service. His answer fertilizes our faith, making it ready for germination. Planting that seed by trusting Him for each step, following in obedient faith, grows in us the fruit bearing trees that glorify Him.

Knowing our calling and equipping, and having God’s focus, requires a vital and growing relationship with the Father. That begins and ends in prayer: communication with God that earnestly seeks Him with seeds of faith ready for His provision for growth. Seeking Him must be in faith that trusts Him to give the right answer, with commitment to follow the wisdom He supplies without wavering (James 1:1-8).

The question that comes to my attention next is, how do we know that our faith is planted in the fertile soil of God’s making so that mountains fall and good springs forth? Next post we address another difficult thing about God’s word and way that is necessary to understand if we are to see His good worked out into our circumstances. Hoping to see you back here next week as our life circumstances allow me time to write subsequent posts.

Difficult Things 1 ~ To Truly Trust: Side 2

Last post we began looking at the difficulty of truly trusting in God. We saw the seed of faith that leads us to seek the Father with trust that He who can, if willing, sees no impossible task and is able to respond to our need.

The problem is that we too often put God in a box of our making. We see a need, and, from our limited understanding, we see a potential solution. Working out of our finite mind, we too readily demand that God work in the way we perceive is best. We often fail to understand that God has the greater plan in heart, the eternal good of all concerned.

God always responds with the purpose of fulfilling the ultimate good. That understanding leads us to the flip side of our trust coin, and our greatest picture of this trust is found in Christ as He poured out His heart to God that last night in the garden He loved.

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’” ~ Luke 22:41-42.

“Yet not my will, but Yours be done” is the flip side of the trust coin that we too easily miss out on. Jesus, in this day of His life, sought the Father knowing that if willingness to do so was there, the Father had power to remove the cup He was about to drink.

God’s ability was not in question. Truly, even His willingness was not the issue, for Jesus later tells Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? HOW THEN WILL THE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED, WHICH SAY THAT IT MUST HAPPEN THIS WAY?” (see Matthew 26, especially verses 46-54).

Jesus knew that God had a greater purpose in the cup sitting before Him and this was the plan from the beginning. Yes, in the stress of facing the pain and suffering that cup meant for Him, He asked for the cup to be removed, and He asked in faith, knowing God could do what He asked if willing. However, in that faith and belief, He asked with a willingness to drink the cup for the sake of fulfilling the eternal purpose of God. True trust in God overcomes the stress hormones of our flesh and the desire of our limited understanding to desire God’s will above our own.

Jesus knew that Father God is the perfect Father, having the perfect plan for the perfecting work of humankind and the completion of His eternal Kingdom. He knew this God is all-powerful and can do anything He has a mind to do. That included the power to equip this Son of His to face the pain of 40 lashes and the nail scarred hands and feet of one placed on a cross. He knew the suffering He walked toward included the moment in time when the whole of the sin of humankind would go on His crucified shoulders and the Father He loved would turn His back on the Lamb bearing the sin. He knew, as hard as it was to face that pain and the separation it would bring for that brief moment of His life, the Father is trustworthy. He trusted God to do all He promised by the best means, working the greatest glory, and He trusted Him even in death.

This trust in God on the flip side is the meaning of the second, seemingly repeated trust found in our Jeremiah passage:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord” ~ Jeremiah 17:7.

What if Jesus failed to trust God to be God? What if He let fear and dread of the pain cause Him to be unwilling for God’s will? What if He ran from that cross, refusing to bear it; where would we be? This passage, more than any other, helps me to understand that the body’s natural response to such, with hormones surging and leading us to question the sanity of such a time as this, is not sin. The sin is in giving ourselves to it and letting it destroy our willingness for God’s will.

When we only want what God can do without trusting that He knows and does what is best for the situation so that it works His purpose, we place ourselves in a position to fall away from true faith if His greater purpose refuses us our desire. Trust in what God can do must ultimately flow from trust in who God is and the understanding that He who sees all will most assuredly see more than we can fathom. He, knowing more than we do about any given situation, always does what is best for our here and now, for that of those we entrust to Him, and for the eternal destiny before us.

Back to my husband’s situation. Do I believe my God can heal Him? You better believe I do, and I am praying with faith for that outcome. Not only do I believe God can heal him, I believe He is willing. The question is, what does God’s idea of healing look like for my husband? Do I trust God enough to surrender my husband to God, trusting His best for all concerned, even if that means his healing is for God to take this mate I love to his eternity? Yes, I do. Do I know that God will be my help to face the days without this man I have spent over 2/3s of my life with, when I cannot fathom life apart from him? I know I can trust my God.

Beloved, we put those we love and all we want in danger if we cannot truly and earnestly say, “Yet not my will, but Thy will be done.” To fail full trust in God, surrendering this one to Him, is to hold my husband as an idol, desiring him above my God. I will not put my husband in that dangerous place, for God says, “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” ~ Isaiah 48:11.

That said, my prayer becomes, Father, I know You can heal my husband. I know You can help us through these days we face. I long to face these days with Your strength that brings You glory. I believe You are willing to heal my husband and my hope is for more time together here, this is my prayer and desire. But I also know that You know what is best for all concerned. So let Your will be done, on earth and in us, as it is in heaven. I receive every word of hope You highlight for me in this hour, and I stand on You who speak Your will into existence according to Your way and for Your glory. In Jesus, amen.

Oh! Yeah. What about the disciples in the healing they could not perform? I believe there were two problems that hindered their ability: 1) the desire of their affection; and 2) the authority in their desire. See you next post for Difficult Things 2, when I will endeavor to explain.

Listening Prayer (Part 4-A) ~ The Way of It

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Recall from previous posts in this series that listening prayer is two-way communication.

We speak: God hears and responds. When He responds with words in the Spirit, whether through scripture, the encouragement of other believers, or that gentle inner voice, the work of the Spirit is to grant us understanding of the voice of the Lord. Our work is to hear with the listening ears of a disciple possessing a heart to obey. When God speaks to us in the work of His Spirit in us to encourage our wait for His action, we know the word is from the Lord as it happens in the earth.

He speaks: by faith, we listen and hear with understanding ears open to the Spirit of God who brings knowledge and remembrance of things we need to know so that we can follow through to accomplish the will of God in every situation. The Spirit gives wisdom with understanding comprehension. Listen! And give Him glory.

In today’s focal passage, we see that the will of God for us is that, in every situation of life, we rejoice in Him, praying without ceasing, possessing a grateful heart that expresses itself in us.

Note the “pray without ceasing”: How do we possess a ceaseless prayer life? We accomplish this as we realize that listening prayer begins with communion – friends, walking together in the partnership of life, and it culminates in action. We seek the Lord. He instructs us. We follow His instruction, doing what He equips us to accomplish. Meanwhile, we watch to see Him do what only He can do through our situations and in response to our obedience. We praise the Lord for His work in and through us all along the way. The topper? He rejoices over us who walk so closely with Him.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” ~ Zephaniah 3:17.

Now, what of the “Rejoice ALWAYS…in EVERYTHING give thanks”? That appears easiest to do when things are good—or is it? However, things are not always good. When things are bad, it is definitely difficult to always rejoice and give thanks in everything—isn’t it? Difficulty being part of our always and everything, how do we continue to rejoice and be thankful?

It should be easiest to rejoice in the Lord with grateful heart when things are good; however, that is too often not the case. When God brings us out of a season of difficult and delivers us into the good land, we rejoice in recognizing His work on our behalf. However, when we neglect to realize God moved on our behalf, or when we are long in the good land, we too easily take for granted that goodness and neglect to rejoice and give Him thanks as we should.

Listening prayer maintains constant communion with God, being always aware of the good He does for us, and being faithful to this call in our rejoicing over Him with thankfulness. The stronger we grow in this practice of prayer, the more ceaseless our walk in this will of God for us. Be alert in the good days that you fulfill the will of God in listening communion with Him, laying claim to no good thing as if of your own making, taking nothing for granted.

What about the difficult days, how do we rejoice and give thanks when we see nothing to rejoice over and definitely are not thankful for what is going on? The answer is in our focus during such times, and in our understanding of what this passage teaches us.

Rejoice always: in what? Certainly not in our situations: good or bad. Rejoicing in our situations or in the provision God makes for our life circumstances and possessions He provides for us makes these an idol in our eyes. Rejoicing is always to be in our God – who He is in all seasons, His faithfulness, His help toward us, His presence, etc.

Scripture tells us, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of Your heart.” When our greatest desire is God, we will find Him in every situation, good or bad, and we will be satiated, strengthened, and helped. The scripture says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Growing strong in our ability to find joy in the Presence of our Lord, whatever is going on in life, is what brings us strength to be able to face all that comes to our day. (Psalm 37:3-6; Nehemiah 8:10)

Focus in rejoicing is always in the Lord. When our lives focus on delighting in Him, thankfulness comes easy as we note His work and provision more readily, seeing Him move in to help us, in good days, and in difficult ones.

~*~

“Rejoice in the Lord always – delight, gladden yourselves in Him; again I say, Rejoice! Let all men know, perceive and recognize your unselfishness, your considerateness, your forbearing spirit. The Lord is near…” ~ Philippians 4:4-5, AMPC.

Standing on the Promises

“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4, NLT.

The promises of God my King, Savior, Champion, Companion. We are in a season that has me leaning heavily on God and His faithfulness.

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. In that time, we busy ourselves with life as we go through the beginning of what may bring us to a long medical challenge in my sweet hubby’s life. He has a biopsy coming up to determine if his issue is cancerous, so we stand, waiting, to see what the Lord will do. (Prayers appreciated)

That said, I am so grateful that, though this life has its twists and turns that can throw us for a loop, we stand fixed and stable because of God’s faithfulness. Here in our focal passage, the author instructs us that we can share the divine nature of God as His image bearers and escape the world’s corruption caused by fleshly desires, by standing, firm in faith, on the promises of God.

God’s promises come to us by His grace alone, but most all we enter into by way of some act of obedience. Jesus promised us His Spirit to guide and equip us for life abundant and full in Him, but that Spirit comes only as we choose to believe the truth of Christ and His life, work, and sacrificial death. Most promises have something we must do to take our stance on that Rock.

This week, as I contemplate what life holds for us in these days of 102facing whatever we may face with Hubby’s health issues, God speaks to me through 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. Through this passage, God reminds me that His promise to reveal Himself through me comes to pass as I go about my daily life, keeping my hands busy with the tasks at hand. Through this season of unknown challenges ahead of us, standing firm on God means doing what comes next with hope in Him to accomplish His will through even the most mundane of tasks.

God promises strength in our weakest hours as we make Him our greatest joy and song (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 13:4; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Hebrews 12:13; Nehemiah 8:10). Knowing God’s promises, receiving His instruction, we take our stance on the Rock of our salvation, fully trusting that God will reveal Himself to and through us in this season we enter in to possess for His glory.

~*~

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8, NASB.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23, NASB.

Convinced of This: God is With Me

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10.

As I have my time with the Lord each day, it is amazing how much of His Word is set in place for our benefit, to lead us surly to Holy Habitation with God. None more vital than this promise expressed in Isaiah 41:10. For personal and full assurance that no matter what comes into our lives in this earth, whether through persecution or penance, we must fully believe that God is with “ME”! He is with ME to help ME.

None of the other promises I can think of, that assure our hearts, can stand-alone. They are dependent on this one fact, sealed and secure in our hearts. We cannot believe that God will truly help us if we fail to know that He is with us. We cannot hope for His deliverance or protection if our hearts tell us He is nowhere around.

Say it aloud, beloved, “God is with ‘ME’, working ALL THINGS for my good and His eternal glory!” Say it over-and-over, throughout your days, until it is settled and unstoppable in your spirit. Only with this sure knowledge are our fears, qualms, and uncertainty assuaged. Only with this sure understanding can we face even the best of days with the victory God desires and designs for us as His Holy Children.

Realize that God is our single greatest possession: no one or thing can snatch us from His hand. Only if we let this truth go without care can we fall away from Him. He is our inheritance: our exceeding, great reward. Only as we possess fully the relationship that knows God’s presence is with us can we overcome the flesh, stand in the midst of trouble, or live free in the challenges of this fallen world.

Put God’s word in your heart, beloved, where no thief can steel and no rust rot it away. Remind yourself continually of this vital truth, “No matter where I am, God is with me, and His heart desire and design is for my good.”

~*~

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money, including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions, and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you, nor let you down or relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” ~ Hebrews 13:5, AMP.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you” ~ John 14:16. 

Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ My Stronghold

“Because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold. My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. …They wander about for food and growl if they are not satisfied. But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.” ~ Psalm 59:9-10, 15-17, NASB.

I love when my heart discerns a name of God in His word that I have not realized before. Any place that tells us “the Lord / God IS” generally translates from Jehovah (I AM). The word following “is” describes a character trait found in our faithful Creator-God that we can bank on. Here, “God is my stronghold (defense in KJV)” translates “stronghold / defense” from the Hebrew word Misgâb (mis-gawb), giving me a new-to-me name for God: Jehovah- Misgâb.

Misgâb means cliff or other lofty or inaccessible place. Translated to refuge, defense, high / strong fort / tower, or stronghold, Misgâb is the place of safety upon which a soldier is safe from enemy fire.

David faced many enemies in his life and he always ran to his Jehovah- Misgâb, the place where he found strength and wisdom for the battle, comfort in time of trouble, and rest for his war-wearied soul. In Psalm 59, David faces an enemy force that is coming against him for no cause; he had done nothing to them that should bring such an assault. The NASB describes his assailant as dogs, searching for food, dissatisfied with any they find. David finds his High Tower by determining within himself “But as for me”, despite the trouble, “I will….”

Stronghold-3The only doorway into the tower of God’s protection that is a stronghold of refuge and rest for a war-wearied soul is through faith that trusts God despite what the war looks like to our finite vision. The key to that door is a heart that praises God even when the war gets long and looks to be lost. That heart of praise and worship that fully trusts God realizes that He alone can give strength needed to continue fighting the good fight of faith while waiting for the Defender of our lives to deliver from the evil coming at us. Despite the exhaustion our tired souls feel, the heart that runs hard after Jehovah- Misgâb sings this song of faith and hope with David:

“But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress” ~ Psalm 59:16, NLT.

Sometimes, beloved, the trouble God allows to chaise us down has but one purpose ~ to drive us to trust more fully in God’s faithfulness, relying only on Him, finding our Resting Place there.

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Holy Habitation: Living Continually Seated at God’s Feet ~ My Daily Portion

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction’” ~ Exodus 16:4.

Today, as I seek the Lord to make Himself known and to minister to the need He sees in me, He begins by speaking to me concerning the habit of fretting tomorrows issues and needs. Fretting wastes time, energy, and supply meant for use in this day’s need, giving it to things that have not and may never come to our lives. Praying about where to begin on our journey to holy habitation with God, He reminds me of the next portion of the Lord’s Model Prayer, and through that, He leads me to the verse above.

In the Lord’s Model Prayer, we looked at the need to begin every prayer with realization of God: who He is, how He works, His might and power and supply available to us, surrendering to His sovereignty. Next Jesus instructs we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Remember, Jesus, in His Model Prayer is giving the people an outline to help their understanding of how to properly approach God’s throne of grace. He begins with leading the people to realize and acknowledge all the glory of God, His power and sovereignty, so they realize that He is the one able to respond to their every need. Then He says, “Now, with this understanding, pray for your daily bread.” Bread / food is a need common to all. Here Jesus is saying to trust God for our daily food supply, but it is more than that. He is more fully instructing us to “trust God for Your daily supply to meet your every need.”

God-Jehovah, in ministering to His people, Israel, promises them His supply to meet their daily need of bread. The daily manna is a symbol of God’s supply for what He sees as our daily need. Whether it is food, finances, strength, grace, wisdom, instruction, or whatever the need, God is the source of our supply, and He sends it to each day as needed. The example found in Exodus tells us that God often only sends what we need for each day with His instruction for its proper use, and He does so for the purpose of revealing whether or not we will follow His instruction.

Fretting and worrying misappropriate God’s supply given for our today. Fretting and worrying tends to miss the opportunity before us in this moment. Fretting and worrying shows lack of faith to trust God’s daily, moment of need, supply. Fretting and worrying denies God’s sovereignty in life and puts us in danger of running rogue. Fretting and worrying too easily leads to our taking things in our own hands, denying the sovereignty of God, and His supply for life’s challenges and opportunities.

God is telling me today to realize His presence with me, leading, Jesus003guiding, supplying my need moment by moment, and empowering me for this day. He is reminding me to trust Him for each day yet to be and to partner with Him in the now as His child, ready to walk with Him in accomplishing His purpose in this day. He reminds me that He knows me and my need better than I know myself. He is my first most vital need and necessity in this life. He is my portion. I cannot make it through a day without Him. In holy habitation with Him, He gives me my true need.

(Numbers 18:20; Psalm 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; Ecclesiastes 3:22; 5:19; Isaiah 61; Lamentations 3:20-25)

Grateful Fellowship ~ Faithful God

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, NASB.

I don’t know if you have noticed – LOL, but there is much hardship in the world today. On the news of late, we see stories of ISIS movements and war that touches the entire world, a scaffold collapse in Texas, mudslides in California, and fires in forests across the nation. On Christian circles, Prophets of the day predict major disasters in nature and in our economy. I, too, see these things, and heart quakes.

InGodsHandssmeFor several years now, God warns my heart that a major earthquake is coming. It will stem from a major fault line in the North West and will trigger smaller fault lines that will hit our nation from there “toward, but not reaching to this daughter of God.” I also see with this the triggering of volcanic activity. It is coming and earth scientists know it. Those who watch such things have developed technology meant to help them warn when it is about to happen so people can have a chance to get out of harm’s way. Likewise, as we watch the news and hear the warning call of the prophets, we must receive the warning so we can be prepared; but we must also take care how we respond, lest we move in ways that are self-fulfilling actions.

For example, many warn of economic collapse in America. If this happens, let it be in God’s hands, not by our own. If we, out of fear, sell all our stocks and bonds to get what we can and try to protect and provide for ourselves, failing to trust God who is our provider and protector, we can cause the very thing we fear. Therefore, we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as we see the signs of the times and hear the prophetic warnings and decide the course of life. God does not send such warnings to bring panic to the heart of His people, beloved. God means them to call His people back to Him and lead the world to the knowledge of Him.

How did I get here from the focal scriptures? I don’t know, except that as I prayed about where to take the thought God inspired through the passage to the point He would make, this is where He told me to start. We are in hard times and these days require sound wisdom if we are to be part of the solution and not the cause of the problem. These hard days also require that we come together to encourage one another.

Consider today, beloved, the people around you. Are you surrounded by voices of God that encourage and help you to wise choices, peace of mind and heartfelt hope, or are they voices of panic, fear, and foolish instructions? If the latter is true for you, find better associates so-as-to surround yourself with godly voices. If the former, give thanks to God for the good support you have in His people.

How are you using the gifts of God given to you during these days? Are you one who encourages and helps others to wise choices,Bigger God peace and hope? Or do you fall into the rut with others to add your voice to the panic, fear, and foolishness of our day? Beloved, no matter how bad things get in our lives, God is the same at all times and we can trust in Him. He is our hope in the day of trouble and our boast in the day of plenty. As long as we are seekers of His face, working to be the people of God, He will be with us to help us weather the storms of this life.

We need God, godly voices in one another, and peace, faith and hope if we are to weather the storms of this world. Decide today the voices you will listen to and the voice you will add to the lives of those around you. Let us help one another to find firm stance on the solid Rock and to know wisdom so we can face the day of trouble with the strength of God’s supply. Jesus prophesied trouble in this world, devoid of hope in God, but with that, He promised peace that passes understanding to those who trust in God through Jesus, Christ, our Lord. And wisdom for every trouble is promised those who seek the Lord for it with unwavering faith.

The days are filled with trouble, but our God is the Rock beneath our feet. Let us stand together on Him and face each day with strength.

~*~

“By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE Lord’” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:31, NASB.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord” ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24, NASB.

We Thrive at God’s Side ~ Part 5: Victory!

God seats us on His left in areas where complete reliance upon and trust in Him and His supply is our need. On His left side, we are dependent on God for all our need with nothing we can do to affect the outcome. However, when God seats us to His right, we become His instruments and partners in all He does. There, we not only have supply from His right hand, but we become an extension of His holy arm. Discerning the difference that signals which side God has us on in any given moment and learning how to rest at God’s side is the journey we are on as we consider God seating us at His side.

“O sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him” ~ Psalm 98:1.

Today we see that God’s victory comes at the move of His right hand. When God seats us to His right, it is so that we can participate in and enjoy victory with Him. At the right hand of God, we have…

Victory’s Assurance

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’” ~ Psalm 110:1.

Beloved, as I read this verse in light of considering all it means to be at God’s right hand, I realize that He speaks this Jesus-Bride007-bword to us through Christ, when He sits us to His right side. God calls us to trust Him for victory over our enemies, just as Jesus did and does. As seen in the life of Christ, a part of the battle is ours to win through the authority we have in God through Christ. As we stand firm with God in this life, He uses us in His work of delivering us to victory over our enemies.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me” ~ Psalm 138:7.

Note the Psalmist says he walks in the midst of trouble. Jesus warned that trouble will come to us as part of our experience in this life because we are not home with God yet. I don’t know about you, but too often, when trouble comes to me, having eyes on the trouble knocks me for a loop and hinders my ability to keep walking through it. Such fear and stagnation do not accomplish the work of God. God has a work for us to do here, victories for us to win, and a witness for us to bear forth so that others may join us on our Kingdom journey. One thing that equips us to walk with God is the realization that He walks beside us in the trouble, fighting for us, bringing us into victory with Him. As we keep eyes of faith on God, we can walk forth to accomplish all He calls us to as partner with Him in His work.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10.

In order to realize victory in Christ, realizing God’s presence with us, it is vital that we keep focus on Him, trusting His hand to uphold, strengthen and help us. “Do not anxiously look about you” is the key to our recognizing and participating in victory.

Think of Peter, taking that step of faith to get out of the boat and walk with Jesus on that storm tossed sea. He was fine until he took his focus off Jesus and put it on the crashing waves. When we are anxious, feeling defeated and impotent, it is because we are looking at the waves of life’s storm tossed seas. Refusing fear, realizing and trusting God’s presence, keeping eyes on God so as to overcome anxiety, and resting in His right hand that reveals to us the way of righteousness that works victory is our pathway to hope’s assurance and help in the battle.

In addition, God promises in the Amplified version of Isaiah 41:10, “I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties.” Jesus-Bride009Since trouble is a natural part of living in a world dictated by fleshly, worldly, and demonic wisdom, persecution and difficulty comes swiftly against those of godly wisdom who walk in ways that differ from this world. That makes it vital that we trust God to use the trouble to harden us against its assault. The closer we walk to the side of God, seeing victory at His right side, the more difficult it is for the trouble that comes at us to make a dent in our armor. Our faith stands firm and sure with greater strength as we grow in our ability to keep eyes on God, having a trust that is secure in Him, hardened against trouble.

“The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, ‘I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored’” ~ Isaiah 62:8.

The promises of God come to us by the power and might of the strong arm of His right hand. It is the right hand of God that moves on our behalf, saving and protecting us, fulfilling His every good word to us. His right hand holds us up so we may stand firm of faith while we participate with Him as partner-instruments in His victory. Thus, we praise Him, because we know His presence with us, we trust His promises, and we understand that any good accomplished by us flows to us from His right-hand supply.

“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly” ~ Psalm 118:15.

Praise the Lord! For June 8, 2015

We have just come through a very busy three weeks, chocked full of challenge, stress, joy and peace. Good things and not so good; easy things and things that took energy; it was all good because:

“Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, You are God” ~ Psalm 90:2, NLT.

From the beginning to the end, God is still God. He is in control of all things. He has purpose and plan to get us safely from point A to point Z, whole, complete, and continually perfected in our work as His image bearers. We can trust our God who is still God no matter the challenge this life brings to us. So praise the Lord in the good and the not so. Remember that God is still God with a purpose and opportunity central in every thing that comes to us in our day. And have a blessed day.

~*~

NOTE: I hope to press forward soon to finish the last two blogs for our series on peace.

 

The Cure For Destructive Fretting

One thing God’s Spirit said to me this weekend that I sure wish I had written His wording down, goes something like this: “Just because someone is busy with life does not mean that they are free from fretting while they do it.”

072The thing I understood immediately upon perceiving that thought from Him is this: we can push ourselves to get busy in an attempt not to think about the things that bother us, the things we are trying to surrender or think we successfully surrendered to God, believing thinking about other things ends the fretting. However, when the stress over the things we are concerned about dictate or fuel our actions or eating, we are truly in the heat of destructive fretting.

I am one who stuffs my face when stressed and fueled by fretting. A friend cleans and scrubs everything in sight: TWICE. Her activity would appear more healthful than my eating would, but both are destructive. They do not alleviate the stress, but often add to it.

Our Pastor’s wife tells us that when she is stressing something, the best place she can be is working in her garden. Tending to her flowerbeds help her to get peaceful. Therein lies the difference between my friend and my habit during stressful times and our Pastor’s wife. Her activity leads her to embrace peace, aiding her to let the stress go, refreshing her and strengthening her to deal with the trouble. My friend and I feed the stress with our frenzy, wearing ourselves out, weakening our bodies, leaving oneself ill-equipped to deal with our issues.

I am so grateful God spurred this pondering in me. Life is hard on several fronts right now, and though I am trusting God’s promises for the things going on, quickly turning to Him when tempted to fretful thinking, watching earnestly for His hand to move, the stress has me out of control in my diet. Since hearing the word behind me instructing, “This is the way, walk in it,” my diet is better, my activity more peace oriented, and I feel better (Isaiah 30:21).

Beloved, what are you stressing? If it is something for which God is giving direction for addressing, do the things He says and watch to see what He will do. If it is something that you can do nothing about, check the power behind your actions. Is the fuel behind your activity an agitation that just increases the stress? This too is fretting. Fretting is destructive enough without adding fuel to the fire through our activities.

God’s word in Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (NLT). Rejoicing 073with confidence in the hope God gives and learning patience as we wait on the Lord increases peace and destroys fretting. Find that place where distraction leads to peace.

I’m not talking the local pub for too much ale, nor any other place where addiction is fed; this too is a destructive action fueled by fret’s stressing. Where are you able to live life to the full, enjoying where you are in peace, while trusting the Lord with the things that are hard. What helps you leave things with God while continuing a life lived in His peaceful pastures? Let that be the place from which you watch for the Lord to deal with the issues that tempt you to fret.

In the Hearing of the Lord: Firestorm! ~ Part 1

Passage Recall:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

We looked these past several days at consequences wrought out of our choices. Consequence is the fruit born from choice, whether good or bad, bringing to us the blessing, or the curse. Do searches through this blog sight alone and you will find many devotionals and articles on the subjects of “choice” or “choose.” Right practice of our God-given right to choose is vitally important, and God’s people write about it often.

In my understanding and belief, our ability to choose was important to Father so that we could know our need of Him in life, and so that we have the option to love Him by choice, just as He chooses us. Love without choice is no love at all. From the first tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden, to the last tree of Calvary’s Christ Cross, God allows us to choose to align ourselves with His prodigy or not to.

“Consequence” stems out of natural law set up by God for all, so our choice will reap a just reward or punishment. Once we choose Father through the Savior, Jesus Christ, we become the children of God and heirs with Christ, having a responsibility to represent His interests in the earth. As the children, God often uses consequences to discipline and train us in righteousness vs. unrighteousness. This understanding of God’s discipline / training that stems out of love for all and desire for us to know Him and live with Kingdom purpose is vital for us in comprehending His allowing such difficulty to come.

How many of us are happy with the outcome of allowing our children to run amuck without any instruction on our part that will help them to become people of worth who do good in the earth? God desires our good, so He trains us up to choose good and blessing by all the means available for His use, and sometimes that puts us in very uncomfortable position in life (Hebrews 12).

It is sometimes difficult for people to believe God is with them and for them when they read the Holy Writ and see His wrath displayed. Add to that the storms of life and the difficulties mankind faces, and faith becomes a dried up mustard seed in a hurry if we fail to understand that His wrath is never out of His control and that it is always coupled with eternal purpose.

Understanding God with knowledge of Who He is and the ability to see things from His perspective with His purposes in mind is vital to our ability to weather the storms and nurture faith in Him. That understanding stems from relationship with Holy Spirit, who is sent to every child of God in Christ as the Teacher and Instructor. Learning to seek the Spirit and trust His voice is vital for us who seek to weather the storms of this life, accomplishing His purposes, with hope of reaping the reward found in this life and the next.

Before we consider the firestorm in our focal passage, to learn what we can learn that will help us avoid or deal with a firestorm from God in our own lives, here is what I know of Him and see about Him that led to the firestorm in our focal passage:

God – Holy, Righteous, and True – at this point in history was raising up for Himself a holy people out of which He would birth the Christ. That Christ would pay the price of sin for the whole world, saving those who believe from the sin and death that was birthed into the world through the fall in the garden. It was vital for the gods of Egypt and their reliance upon that place to be worked out of their system so they would be able to connect with God as their God and so they would trust His provision for them. God’s presence and protection was visible to the people as a cloud by day and a fire at night.

The cloud by day provided visible proof of God’s presence with them and His leading them on their journey to the Promised Land. It also provided shade to protect from the heat of the desert place in which they found themselves as they followed God.

A column of Fire was there to protect them through the night, providing light in the darkness and revelation of His presence with them. It also was there to protect His work in them that God purposed to bring to completion. His fire was not there to do them harm, but to protect them and to provide light in the times of darkness.

An enemy entered into the camp of God’s people, presenting itself and its destructive force through grumbling, complaining, discontent, and a sundry of emotional upheavals that hindered their faith to trust in God. That was leading the people to look back to Egypt, denying faith and God’s trustworthy ability to lead them and care for them. That enemy flowing from their fleshly desire, worldly understanding, and demonic influence, was leading the people to greed and covetousness, looking with wanton pleasure to things of their heart’s desire, refusing gratitude for what they had and hope for the greater things to come. So God sent a firestorm against the enemy of God.

We are told that this particular firestorm lapped around and consumed the outskirts of the camp. There may have been destruction of people, but we are not given clear indication of that in this version of scripture. But the fact that the camp was surrounded by God’s fire, I am sure, got the attention of the people.

God’s firestorms are against His enemies: fleshly indulgence, worldly wisdom, and demonic prodding: those given over to these enemies put themselves in danger of facing the wrath of God as allies with them. Even in the deliverance from Egypt, the plagues God sent was not just against those people who were abusing and using God’s people, but it was against the false, demonic gods behind those people. Each plague was directed against one of Egypt’s many gods, and, God, knowing the heart of every man, seeing those who would refuse to turn in repentance, consumed many of them as part of the enemy camp. The same is true in the camp of God’s people, when those allied with the false god of this world infiltrate it and refuse to turn to God and His way.

So, what do I see that we can learn in the firestorm that hit the camp of God’s people that day? Fire has purpose in God’s hand that is for our good and His glory. What is that purpose? Tomorrow we will finish our series.

In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 3

Remember our focal passage:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

When I find myself tossed by storms of life, there is something there for me to learn. This entire article stems out of the fact that I have learned much in the storms of life. One thing I have learned when touched by consequence, whether my own or another’s that puts me in a storm is to ask Father what it is I am to learn in this place in which I find myself.

God’s Word promises that we will find Him when we seek Him, and we will surly find Him when we seek Him with whole heart. He will respond to us when we seek His face in order to understand our circumstances from His viewpoint and with a heart that desires to improve oneself. And I have learned that if God allows a storm to touch me, there is something He wants to teach me. The quicker I am to seek His face, the faster I am to find the Eye of the storm and the rest that is there: the place where my prayers will be more effective, for they are birthed by God; the place where my actions are God-directed to bear pure fruit that accomplishes much.

And what I learn, I must teach others as I have opportunity or obligation:

We are looking at dealing with the consequences brought about by our choices and how the outcome of decisions made can affect those in the vicinity, whether for good or for evil. Yesterday I was reading in Numbers and a passage there grabbed my attention. It is one that I have often read and thought how unfair that dictate from God seems. But as I read it this time, I had a different understanding hit me that I think we need to realize here. In Numbers 14:32-33, God says to Israel, who is about to face their consequences for rebellion against God:

“But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.”

Reading this before, I have always focused on the children being punished for the sins of the fathers, but is that what is truly happening? Could it be that God is saying that because they are in a position of being effected by the consequences of the fathers, they will have suffering until the fulfillment of the time: 40 years, in this case? It is vital, as we learn our lessons in the wilderness of consequence, that we teach our children as well, so they may avoid inviting consequences of their own into life.

In the Eye of the storm, God hears me when I call, for in the Eye of the storm there is faith to trust Him more. As God has taught my heart to run quickly to the center of the hurricane, where the winds become still and quiet waters reside, He has also taught me that no matter how great my faith may be, it is never more than a mustard seed when placed against His faithfulness.

As I have lived in the Eye of the storm with God, I have grown to realize that the more I know Him, the more I realize there is to learn of Him. I can never, in this earthly existence, know Him fully. There are always greater depths to fathom in knowing God so as to understand and comprehend.

We trust what we know to be true. And because of what we know to be true of Him, we have faith for our future and for the outcome of consequences. Therefore knowledge of God is vital for trust to grow, and faith for the yet-to-be-seen works out of trust in what we know to be true. It is in the Eye during the storm that we grow to know Him better. There we have trust strengthened and faith secured.

The greatest thing we can do when consequences hit is to discern and own our part in them. As we’ve already addressed, repentance for the things we do to raise the winds of adversity is vital to our ability to enter the Eye and know Father’s presence and provision. When we are quick to seek the Father to discern our part, if the consequences we are facing are not caused by us, we can quickly draw near to God in the eye and let Him prepare us for our part in helping the one in the storm. If the consequences are due to personal choices, we can address the storm quickly as we draw near to God in repentance.

And as discussed above, if I have made a personal, ill-equipped response to circumstances before seeking God and added to the storm caused by another’s consequences, by the grace that God supplies, I can see where my flesh-driven responses to an insult may add to the storms of life and take responsibility for my part. Only then am I able to see with clarity when I need to take Spirit-driven action and when I need to sit quietly to wait upon the Lord, knowing that He will be exalted to have His purpose fulfilled (Psalm 46:10). With my ears attuned to His voice in the quiet, stillness of the Eye, I can receive His word to me and share it with others so as to help them find the quiet waters He provides for those who believe.

Here, I must add that repentance does not always remove consequences. Often we still must deal with the situations brought about by sin: an untimely pregnancy; a broken home; broken relationships; loss of a job; etc. Entering the Eye through repentance equips us to deal with these issues in right ways that do not perpetuate and add to the storm. Through repentance and quiet trust we learn to…

Avoid the Fire-storm. In the hearing of the Lord, I can choose whether to enter the winds of adversity or remain in the stillness trust breeds by choosing my words and thoughts and actions carefully, while following His lead. It is one thing to face consequences with God at our side to help us through them. There we find the greater depths of His person, helping us to grow and become all He planned and purposed. But beware taking actions to try to deliver self from ones well-deserved consequence without acknowledging His Lordship in the life you face, and beware refusing to see and own the cause of the storm our actions birthed.

Getting back to our focal passage, beware complaining, ingratitude for God’s good to us, looking with greedy covetousness to things we deem better, often looking with wanton pleasure to a past we gave up to follow Him, thus dissing Him as God. Failing to own our consequences and to trust God in the storms of life will find us fighting against God, facing a firestorm of His making.

Why would a good and faithful God send a Firestorm? Join me in the next post of Ponderings.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” ~ James 1:12, NLT.

 

 

In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 1

Remember our focal passage:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

Yesterday, in the introduction to our study, we looked at the journey of Israel during the first one to two years of their travels after leaving Egypt, considering their tendency to complain when storms come to life, as is our own tendency, bringing difficulty to our days and adding to the force of the winds we face. Today we begin our journey to discover what we can learn that will help us to join the Father in the eye of such storms, where calm and peaceful waters reside.

The things I am about to share with you come mostly from personal experience. I went through a season of many storms flying all around me – divorce within the family circle, parental aging issues, etc.: it was overwhelming. These particular storms were brought on by other people’s choices and beliefs, things I could do little or nothing about. Seeing these things so out of my control, I wound up being tossed and torn by them. Hear me now, I was tossed and torn BECAUSE OF my mentality toward fretting, complaining, and the want-to-fix-it. With these emotional responses to the situations, my own decisions in dealing with and coping with the situations did not always lend help in the storm and often aided in stirring up more wind.

One day, as I found myself again telling God all that was going on, I realized that my eyes were so snared by the raging winds that all I was accomplishing was to complain in the ears of God. If you ever feel like your prayers are just hitting the ceiling, perhaps a complaining, ungrateful, faithless spirit is the issue. Realizing that fact about myself set me on a journey in which I learned how to lay such issues at God’s feet and entrust them to Him.

The eye of the storm is made up of trust in and full reliance upon God with confidence in Him to use the situation for good.

On my journey from the point of realizing my complaining spirit – a sign of lack of faith to trust God and one of disrespect for Him and His position in my life – progressing from a complaining spirit to that of entering into and remaining in the Eye, at rest, I went through years of feeling like I was praying little because it was all said and there was nothing left to add. The best I could do was to rest it with God and wait: wait to see what He would do.

I know this is true in all situations and at all times, but in that season of my life, I became acutely aware of “the best I could do”. Many of my prayers consisted of, “Lord, here it is. I trust You.” I might have to lay the situation down several times a day, praying more for my responses in the storms than for the situations stirring them. But as I did that, I found myself resting more and more in the Eye of the storm, under His Wings.

As I think on that, I realize anew that we are called to be a people that remain under the wings of God. Think about that.

In life, the time we most often see a chick under its mother’s wing is when there is an evident and present danger: a predator in the area or in the midst of a storm, or when there is need for provision to sustain life (example: the need of warmth). The enemy lion, Satan, is always on the prowl, roaring to see if he can stir up his prey. And this life, fueled by fleshly desires, worldly ways, and demonic influence, constantly rages to stir up storms all around us. Therefore, as the people of God, reliant on Him, it is vital that we learn to live, remain, and function from the position of His protective cover and provision that sustains Life.

Another important aspect I learned about entering the eye of a storm is that of receiving and believing revealed promises of God, especially those He gives me personally in regard to a particular situation.

It helps me greatly when I can say as, for example, with a prodigal son, “Here he is again, Lord. I trust You; for You have promised me that You will deal with him as with a son and that Your lovingkindness will never leave him” (2 Samuel 7:14-15). We even see this portrayed for us in many of the prayers of Moses, as he often reminded God of His promises toward His people and the need for Him to not give the enemy opportunity to gloat (Exodus 33 *:12-17*; Numbers 14:13-19).

Yes, I have learned much about God through the storms of life, and as I have grown to more quickly relinquish difficulty and enter the eye of the storm, I have learned still more about how to remain there and what to do while there. Now that we have entered calmer waters through trust and belief, calling God’s attention to His promises and to His honor, return to join me in the next posting as we continue to look at being in the hearing of the Lord in ways that keep us in the Eye of life’s storms.

In the Hearing of the Lord: Series Introduction

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

Near as I can figure from the timeline of events, and I could be off some on this, but I don’t think by much: God led Israel through the wilderness, taking about a year to get to the Mountain of God which was about a 13 day journey going in a straight line there. He then took most of another year to give the people the laws and instructions they needed before entry into the Promised Land: leading them to build the Temple, and numbering the people for the purposes of service assignments as priests and warriors.

Why so long? Why not just cross quickly and head into the Promised Land before all this complaining began? Not wanting to get too much into this subject, as lead-in to our subject for this writing, here is what I see as the reason for God taking the long way to get to their destination:

  1. The people were weak from their time as slaves and needed to be built up mentally, physically, and spiritually.
  2. The people were divisive, each thinking they knew a better way, and they needed to be brought to one heart and mind, God’s; and to the ability to follow His lead through the leadership of men He anointed and appointed.
  3. The people were filled with the falsehood of Egypt and needed to have Egypt worked out of their system of belief and wantonness.
  4. The people needed to grow in their ability to trust God to do all He told them He would.
  5. The people needed to learn obedience in order to cooperate with God in seeing the promises fulfilled.

Don’t confuse these events on the timeline of Israel’s wilderness experience with the 40 years that follow. It was failure to believe in, trust in and rely upon God with the first approach to entering the Promised Land that led to Israel’s 40 year wilderness wanderings.

At this point, I am sure that there is more that can be gleaned from a two year jaunt to make a 13 day journey. But as I consider where to go in introducing our subject matter in this writing, these things listed above come quickly to mind. The point is that God always has good purpose for any adversity and every storm He allows to touch our lives. Yes. Always. And His purposes are for our good, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

It has been years since I have not had a storm raging somewhere, at least on the outskirts of my life. It seems when one situation dies down, another flares up or begins again. Sounds horrendous, doesn’t it? It may even sound familiar. But the reason I can pronounce a storm to be on the outskirts of my life – sometimes touching life, maybe stirring things some, but not destroying life, is because throughout all the storms to date, God has taught me how to enter into His rest and remain in the eye of the storm, where calm waters dwell.

Our focal scripture that leads to this writing reveals that frequent complaining over adversity stirs up the winds of the storm, and can even put us in the midst of a God-driven Firestorm. This is the beginning of a rather lengthy, two-part series on dealing with life’s adversity that I believe, if you will read all over these next three to four days, Walking_on_wateryou will find it worth the time.

Through this study, we will look first at the things I have learned that are vital to entering into the Eye of life’s storms and remaining there (see the next two to three posts). Then we will look at this “firestorm” sent by God and discover what it may consist of and why He would send such into our lives.

I look forward to visiting with you again in our next post as we begin to look at “In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters”.

Hands Not Limp are Hands in Worship

“You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar” ~ Exodus 29:20.

You knew we would get to this first, right? This verse along with many others in Exodus reveal to us that the hands that are not limp are consecrated for the worship of God and in the restoration of God’s people. Here we see that the ears, hands, and feet of the priests are anointed and consecrated to God for His use in leading the people in worship and restoration. Beloved, we too are priests unto God with a holy priesthood through Christ (1 Peter 2:9).

I have found more times than not that when I am ministering to a fellow believer who is struggling and down trodden, they are best lifted up when I express the glory of God over their situation, helping them refocus to see more clearly the One who can walk them out of their situations. When we focus on our struggles in life, we too often find our hearts in defeat and we fail to worship God with gratitude for Him. But when we refocus to see the one who is bigger than our life circumstances, worshiping Him for Who He is, hope abounds and help reaches us to empower us to press forward while waiting for the moving of His hand in our need.

As I read this passage, I note that not only are the hands anointed for the ministry of worship, but so are the ears and the feet and the altar. Our ears are anointed to listen for the wee small voice of God and His Spirit who empowers our worship and feeds us the words those we minister to need to hear. He instructs our hearts in the way we should go and in the changes we need to make in life as we listen for Him. Our feet are anointed, not only to go out in His Name to minister to others, but they are anointed to live life to the full and to press forward in life to His glory, even as happenstance leaves us wanting to lie down in our misery and hide from life.

The true worshiper that worships in Spirit and in truth not only speaks His glory, but is attentive to His voice and ready to press forward as His representative in life, putting feet and hands to work in the ministry of reconciliation. As I see the consecration of the altar in this passage, I see our lives, our very existence consecrated for sacrifice to God’s use as we take up our cross daily to follow Him.

Another picture in scripture of worshiping hands that are not limp is found in Nehemiah.

anointing5“Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” ~ Nehemiah 8:6.

When situations in life are difficult, reaching to God in worship that is mindful of His glory, His presence, and His power, care, provision, protection, etc., empowers our hands with strength to persevere instead of letting our hands fall limp in despair. Hands not limp are filled with and used in the worship of God, knowing that the joy of the Lord is strength (vs. 10).

Psalm 26 instructs us concerning hands lifted and made strong in worship:

“I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Your altar, O LORD, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders ~ Psalm 26:6-7.

We are called by God to lift up holy hands in worship (1 Timothy 2:8). That means that in situations where we are tempted to be defeated and let our hands fall limp, evaluating our part in the situation and repenting any sin that put us there is vital. So also is the spirit of thanksgiving in the midst of our difficulties. Repentance and thankfulness are two vital aspects in worship

Thus, beloved, when difficulty comes, “Lift up your hands to the sanctuary (which is God) and bless the Lord” ~ Psalm 134:2 (author’s note). There you will find your help and strengthen your hands for the plow, being equipped to press forward to the glory of God and the fulfillment of His kingdom purpose (Luke 9:62).

A Trust that Breeds Gratitude

“Trust {lean on, rely on, and be confident} in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and {He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass} ~ Psalm 37, NASB {AMP}.

God began instructing my heart yesterday that fretting over the past is robbing me of now strength, joy, peace, gratitude to Him, assurance, and comfort.

I seek daily to follow God’s instruction to me for each days tasks and activities, and when I fret over things I did not do or things that did not go the way I thought they should, I deny the work of God in and through me in those things and I deny Him gratitude for the things that were accomplished. I forget that God is in control and can be trusted with my every step in life.

Do I fail to hear and obey at times? Yes. And the instant I realize it, I repent and change course. To repent means to lay the failure on the shoulders of Christ and leave it there with the One who sacrificed Himself for this purpose, that I may have true life and have it in abundance; then to press forward from there with the freedom of Christ to live a better life to His glory and crown. Fretting over failures repented is to pick that heavy load back up and be crushed by the weight of it.

The thing God is instructing my heart to realize is that when I focus on my failures, I fail to see the progress made in God’s work of reestablishing in me the image of God that Christ died to provide for me. Marsha Burns writes in this devotional written in the voice of God speaking to the reader:

“Look how far you have come! The difficulties that you have endured and overcome have instructed you and driven you to find Me in a more meaningful and concrete way.  Your days of trouble are not to be disdained; they are to be recognized as a necessary part of your growth process.  Don’t lament, says the Lord.  Rejoice for where you are now and where I will take you from here.”

With the passing of my Daddy and the struggle he was in with paranoia in his last years, it would be easy for me to focus on things I did not have strength to accomplish in my relationship with him. The sense of loss would be intensified and the weight of the sense of failure would throw me into depression and defeat. But God keeps reminding me how He has grown my trust and reliance on Him as Abba, Father. He reminds me of the freedom from a root of rejection that He has accomplished in me during the days of Daddy’s struggle. So instead of hurt and heartache over unfulfilled desires in my relationship with Daddy, I am filled with gratitude and awe toward my Abba who has helped me and done a work of grace in me, freeing me from the growth of a spirit of rejection to finding my acceptance in Him.

Jesus08We are continually being perfected. Looking back on days gone by is natural to us, but as a people for God’s own possession, when we look back our hearts need to settle with gratitude on the goodness of God that worked a plan through the time of struggle that has worked change in me, making me look and act more like the Father and less like the flesh of this world. When looking back, the question to ask is “what did I learn and how has it changed me?” We press forward from the pits in life with greater strength to persevere when our hearts are filled with gratitude for the work of God in our lives. And we find success in the journey when we remember the promise of God:

“I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” ~ Psalms 32:8.

And “your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left” ~ Isaiah 30:21.

Therefore, beloved of God, “Trust [lean on, rely on, and be confident] in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, trust also in Him and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. [Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass] ~ Psalm 37, NASB [AMP].

Fear Not!

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8.

A quote by Will Smith’s Character, Cypher, in “After Earth” caught my attention. I found it to be one of the most insightful and well-spoken viewpoints I have heard regarding the subject of fear. Thus I quote:

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may never exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Wow. That is such a true and thought provoking statement, worthy of meditation. Think about it. Even in an instance of imminent danger, fear comes to the fraction of time in which we allow ourselves to imagine the potential of the next moment that is not yet present reality, and may never be. When we give ourselves to that fear, it brings the mind and emotions to “near insanity,” hindering our ability to think and respond clearly to the danger. Fear, when given a place in our choices, can well lead to destruction. When fear catches our attention, instead of evaluating the danger and how best to address it, we bow to the fear, giving self to its power over us, which leads to running from rather than toward the danger that needs to be dealt with. At the end of the movie, when Kitai was at the point of do or die, he was able to refuse to choose fear any longer. In that instance of calm, he was equipped to face the danger with right priority and discernment of resource to deal with the danger and come out victorious.

It is no wonder that our God tells us over and over to “fear not.” We cannot see the potential for a good outcome and head toward that when fear gets hold of us. And we cannot see clearly the presence and power of our God and His ability to lead us to a right and victorious response when faith to trust Him is hindered by fear.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” ~ 1 John 4:15-18, (see also in AMP. Other “do not fear” passages).

Knowing the love of God for us, being assured of His presence and care, empowers us to face danger with good judgment that empowers us to overcome.

According to YOUR Faith

Matthew 9:22 ~ But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; YOUR faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.

9:29 ~ Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to YOUR faith.”

God highlighted these verses for me this morning, encouraging me to entrust my current issue to Him, a flare of sciatica that doesn’t want to heal and is bringing to life the worst pain I have ever had.

Yes. I have birthed three children and I have suffered a kidney stone, both believed to be the worst pain sources known to mankind, but this leg issue far surpasses my experience of pain through these means. Realize too that when I had my babes, they were not yet doing epidural blocks to cut the pain. So my pain experience is great, and this is the greatest.

Today, despite the pain, I hear the Spirit say, “Daughter, take courage; YOUR faith has made you well, and it shall be done to you according to YOUR faith.”

Note here that it is my degree of faith God is looking at to determine His response. He also instructed me to “get up and walk”, casting off the cane in faith that my healing is coming in response to obedient faith.

My husband does not have the faith that I am healed. God didn’t tell him that I am. So he instructs me, “Take your cane with you.” God immediately instructed my heart that, out of submission to my husband in obedience to God’s word and to ease his mind, I am to comply, but I do so undisturbed by his doubt, walking with strength of faith’s supply, knowing that my healing is nearby through the power of God’s Spirit.

Beloved, has God highlighted for you what He is going to do in your situation, calling you to believe by faith? Are other people lacking faith and speaking words to discourage your faith?

Realize it is YOUR faith God will respond to on your behalf. If He spoke promise to you, believe God over the voice of dissension around you. Take courage beloved. Close out the words of doubt others spout realizing that He did not speak the word of promise to them. He spoke to you. The question is, whose report will you believe? God? Or man?

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” ~ Hebrews 11:1.

Speaking Out of Promise

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” ~ Hebrews 11:1 (See also: Romans 8:24; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Assurance of hope; conviction that the yet-to-be-seen will be: people who are functioning in this realm of life will show it in at least two major ways:

One ~ they will live life in a way that reveals they have hope for a better tomorrow, living life in a way that reveals the things they hope to see can and will happen as God inspires their heart. Such hope builds to direct one to see that desire as worth chasing after and working toward, no matter how difficult the journey may be.

The second is the fact that people of such hope talk different. These may go through moments of negativity in times of discouragement’s temptation, but it will be short lived. God will use something to remind them of their hope for the future, and they will begin to speak about those truths of faith, often as if the thing they are waiting for has already happened. It is a sure thing for them because they receive God’s inspiration of heart desire with belief that says, “I know You can if it is Your will.” And they hear Him respond, “I am willing. Let’s do it.”

The confession of our hope is vitally important, both the spoken confession, and the actions we call life that move toward the desired reality. Two things have me thinking about the confession of our hope, speaking out of promise, today.

One is a family issue that has me grieving and concerned over one I love dearly. Most days I get up and press forward with faith in God who assures my heart that He is working in the situation and in the life of this one I love, accomplishing His purpose and bringing all to His glory. On those days I have strength, joy, and ability to function. But some days I get hit by the grief of the situation and find my function robbed of strength and joy. Today as I write this first draft has been one of those days when grief over the situation fights against what I know God is telling me is His truth and my hope for this situation.

There is a teaching in the church that I believe in practicing, but I believe we must be careful how we practice it. It is the teaching found in such passages as of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 coupled with that of Philippians 4:8 that is used to teach us to speak what is not yet as if it already is. It is a teaching that intends we speak with faith in God’s word to us regarding life issues, even when life is not visibly in alignment with God’s word, while trusting Him to work to bring all in alignment to His expressed will. I believe we are to do that, express our hope and faith in God, trusting Him to fulfill it; but I also believe we must take care that the positive we speak has its basis in faith in God’s promises to us, not just some good outcome we prefer to see. God’s way is not name it and claim it; it is receive it and believe it.

I have a friend whose daughter turned from the Lord. Every time her daughter would deny God, she would tell her, “That is not truth, for scripture says, ‘Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.’ You will return to God.” Now first off, my friend’s righteousness she was trusting in that made her able to claim this verse was not her own, though she worked hard in the strength of God’s supply to live a righteous life, but her trust in her proclamation was in the righteousness she possesses through her relationship with Christ Jesus. And God was faithful to fulfill the promise He gave her heart through His word. It was not long before her daughter turned back to God and began to grow in Him anew.

Today I read the following post on one of my friend’s pages:

“Today’s Family Confession: My family is saved because I believe in Jesus Christ. My children and grandchildren are taught of the Lord. Great is the peace of my family and God’s spirit is upon them. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Sebastian Weaver.

God used this confession, all of which I recognize as scripture based confessions, to remind my heart that on days of grief, it is vital that I keep speaking out with assurance the promises I hold to easily on days of strength, for “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” and faith boldly confessed gives strength and new life to weary, dry bones. So it is important for me to have written out the truths God has highlighted for me in Scripture with regard to this loved one, so that when the emotional onslaught of grief hits my flesh, my heart and mind can continue to remember God’s word and choose to believe Him over what my eyes are seeing in the life of my beloved right now.

The other thing that has me thinking on this subject is a dear friend who expressed frustration when others keep speaking “negative confessions” on an area of his life where God has given him clear promise and hope. It has me wondering why we would have cause to fear or be frustrated over what others say if our faith is in what God says.

We have scriptural precedence revealing how often God will speak a true, prophetic word of promise to one person. Others, some false prophets who have no part in God, and some true prophets of the one true God who are not hearing him on that subject or out of some fear of others, they are not speaking truly. The one who is hearing and speaking truly has no need to fear, fret or fume over the negative words of others if the word they are trusting is truly from God. Why? Because God promises that the word that is from Him WILL be fulfilled, proving to all the truth of the word spoken. We know the prophetic utterance is from God when it comes to pass. And He will do what He wills despite what unbelievers in His word to us think or say.

Most of the things God gives me are based on Scripture. I can point to what I am seeing and receiving from God in the Scripture, and others can see and believe it for themselves, along with me. But sometimes God will speak something to me in which I have no clear directive in His Word that I can point to.

I shared in previous writings that as I draw near to my 60s, finding myself in a season with ill health had me concerned that I might not be long for this life, I began to fear dying. Every time my health would fail me, a fear would come up in me, hindering me from enjoying the days I have. Then one day the “voice” of His presence that I have always understood as God speaking to me, began to say three words into my times of concern over my health: “at least eighty-two.” Every time it happened, I knew He was telling me to not fear, for I still have many years of life to live. That assurance from God has come to me so many times now that I no longer question or doubt; I just believe and trust the Lord for my times and epochs. I asked God once, “Why ‘at least’? Why not just give me the age outright?” He revealed to my heart “I know you. If I tell you exactly when, you will pack your bags, say your goodbyes, and sit to wait for Me. I want you to live life to the full until the instant I take you home.”

Now I have enough assurance in me from God that I tell people of this prophetic promise, but I have nothing that I can give them as proof. Used to that would bother me, but I have learned that God is the protector and completer of His word. Others may not believe me and may even argue with me. But I just smile and go on in assurance because God has me convinced.

Trust God, beloved. Learn how He works with you to instruct your heart. Know His voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10). And trust His word to you with faith filled assurance and hope. Let Him convince you of things you do not yet see. Dive into the water with Him and see what He will do. Those who disbelieve will see. You just keep smiling with the joy of your assurance.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23.

Trust God’s Call, and Walk in It without Fear

Jesus responds to Sanhedrin
Jesus responds to Sanhedrin

John 7:30 ~ “So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because HIS HOUR HAD NOT YET COME.”

John 8:20 ~ “These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because HIS HOUR HAD NOT YET COME.”

John 6:15 ~ “So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.” Why? Because the hour of His Kingship has not yet come.

It is awesome to me to read and discern the relationship Jesus had with the Father. He trusted God’s lead and understood the path before Him. He knew God’s timing to be perfect, and He worked in that understanding without fear.

He did not fear when those who were jealous of Him and those who did not understand God’s plan for Him threatened His life, for He knew His death and the way of it was set by God for a purpose of His own. Though He did not needlessly put Himself in harm’s way, He faced His accusers with assurance of God’s sovereignty, and He saw their intention as God’s leading to move on from there to the next assignment, going on not spurred by fear of their threat, but by understanding that there was more yet to accomplish.

He also was not tempted by the desire of those who wanted to make Him the King they were waiting for because they recognized His greatness. He knew that the Father was working a greater plan to grow the Kingdom by saving grace found in His sacrifice before the Father’s desire for Him to be King would come to fruition.

I have a friend that I call a modern day Paul who has caught this heart of Christ and lives it. Missionary to an area unfriendly to the cause of Christ, he walks with faith that God will fulfill His purpose through him, just as He did through Jesus, so there is no need of fear when faith will do so well.

Jesus-Lazarus
Lazarus, come forth!

John 11 tells of such a time of Jesus’ faith in God. The example we see through Jesus in this chapter fits both this call to trust God in the call on our life, and it is excellent example of yesterday’s blog on the comfort we find in God because He allows us to experience the opposite end of the continuum from Him and all He is and does.

In this chapter we see that Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, has fallen deathly ill. Jesus holds off going to his aid, knowing that The Father has a greater plan to reveal His glory. When He decides it is time to go to Lazarus, His disciples caution Him about going back to the area where the leaders of the Jewish faith were ready to kill Him, but Jesus knew His time had not yet come, so trusting the Father, He went. The disciples follow with the determination of dying with Him there and then. But God had a plan to reveal His greatness through His unique method of comforting the sorrowful. We pick up the story with Mary’s encounter with the Christ.

“Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ JESUS WEPT. So the Jews were saying, ‘See how He loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?’” (John 11:32-36)

The shortest verse in all of scripture, “Jesus wept.” But why did He weep? It was not weeping over Lazarus, for He knew what He was about to do. I believe Jesus wept for the great sorrow these He loved were experiencing. And He wept for the lack of faith and understanding of the greatness of God their words expressed. Still today we bring the Spirit of God to grief by our sorrows and our lack of understanding of the greatness of God. He grieves for us as we are in the process of coming into understanding the continuum of God’s power and comfort toward us.

“Jesus said, ‘Remove the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’”

I love watching Beth Moore when she teaches on this passage. She loves to use the KJV version of verse 39, and she acts it out so well. Hear Martha in these KJV words.

“…Lord, by this time he stinketh! …”. Lord, He stinketh!

Oh how we raise such a stench to the nostrils of God when we fail to understand His ways and walk with faith to believe that we will see the glory of God in our situations and circumstances. But God is so merciful that despite the stench, He will move anyway to reveal His glory.

Our daughter shared recently about a cavern of death she was experiencing because of being unable to see God moving. Her faith shot and her need greater than me, I prayed fervently to see the greatness of God move quickly to meet them at their need and to comfort the sorrow in my daughter. His move was so awesome as He quickly opened up doors that got them into a better position to carry on with the life call He has for them. God cares! He weeps over us still because of the stench this dead world can bring to us. But He moves mightily to our cry of faith in Him, revealing His glory to all who see.

“Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, ‘What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.’ Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples” ~ John 11:45-54.

God is still in the business of revealing His glory, and one main purpose in that is so that those who see may believe unto salvation. We, like Jesus, are in this life and this time for a purpose set by God. Here at the conclusion of this chapter, man thought they could not “let go on” these things that they felt would rob them of their place in society and their nation. They failed to realize that in standing against Jesus with fear of losing all, they were standing against God Himself who sent Jesus to restore them to the position God intended that we all have from the beginning. Only Caiaphas, filled with the Spirit as High priest that year, recognized the truth and spoke out of faith to believe that they would see the glory of God in the completed work of Christ.

Friend, our lives are in God’s hands. We, like Christ, can follow to serve Him with faith to believe that staves off fear and grants wise discernment to know where to go when, and what to do when there. Next post we will look at the example of Christ who said, “…the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing…” ~ John 5:16-20. Next time we will look at how this practice of Jesus is true for us as well, and how to discern what God is doing.

Count Your Blessings A Comfort

“If the world were perfect, you would never experience the pleasure of receiving comfort from Me” ~ * Sarah Young.

I know how true this is, but to see it in print brings a whole new dimension to life in a world of sorrow and hardship. How would we know the comfort of God if we never experienced the need of it? This truth is awesome to realize.

If Eden had stood firm and we all lived in perfect bliss, in the constant presence of God with His full provision at arm’s reach, we would not realize how blessed a life the Garden of God provides. We would not know the extent of the joy and security of the Secret Place of His presence if we never knew fear and distress, loneliness and sorrow. And the assurance of His provision would go unnoticed if we never tasted hunger, depravity, helplessness, worry, and hopelessness. Joy and peace would have no measure without sadness and anxiety to mark the other end of the continuum. His righteousness, grace, mercy, and love would escape us if we had no understanding of sin, shame, judgment, disappointment, and even hate.

Thinking on these things brought whole new meaning to these words of Jesus as I read them this morning:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” ~ John 4:10.

Oh the gift of God; to know and understand Him because we have a gauge of measure for recognizing just how great He truly is. Realizing the contrast raises in me greater hope and anticipation of His coming to take us home to that Garden, my friend. Does it you?

God longs for us to experience His full provision, relationship, peace, and power. For that to be known, we must know the opposite end of the equation. Rejoice, beloved. As difficult as it may be or get here in this life, there is an opposite to be known in the Secret Place of God’s eternal presence.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]” ~ Psalm 91:1, AMP.

* Sarah Young, Jesus Today, Devotional #15, Page 34.

Caught in the Wake

Introduction

“Extol the Lord our God and worship at His holy hill,

for the Lord our God is holy!”

Psalm 99:9.

God is Holy. What does that mean?

Holy means separated from sin; set apart from evil; filled with good, righteousness, and truth.

God IS and He IS Holy!

Two things about this reveal to us that God and sin cannot abide or dwell in the same place. One who is separated from sin cannot remain where sin resides. And One who is fully good, righteous, and true will shatter and scatter sin, for sin cannot remain in the presence of the Holy. Sin is dark. God is Light. Light dispels darkness. Thus God tells us, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” ~ James 4:7-8.

As we walk away from sin, we walk into the glory of the very presence of God. But, as we see mentioned in the verse above, there is an Aliveenemy who seeks to draw us away from God. He is the epitome of sin and the father of lies. He desires all God has, wanting to be god himself, so he fights all that God is and all that He loves, seeking to destroy God’s desire and design.

This demon-king, Satan, knows that the flesh is weak. He knows that apart from God, we can do nothing. So he works overtime, appealing to our flesh, enticing us through our lusts, and luring us away from God so that sin can rule. And when he cannot lure us, he will put us on the run in a panic, causing us to forget grace, leading to our struggle to work our way back to a righteous stance, thus, we try to become our own savior and usurp the work of Christ.

In introducing this short series of study, let me tell you a little story that is true of many today, and that could be true for any in our day.

A family of people is going through life with all the normal ups and downs we all have. They are strong Christian people, seeking the Lord fervently. Faithful in church, they are actively involved and growing strong in their personal ministry of faith. Their children are strong in the Lord, growing, and greatly loved as exemplary pupils of the faith.

One day the father, upset over some personal hurt, takes a step toward an old sin struggle and begins anew to look at porn. His sin grows stronger as his addiction renews its old hold and enslaves him. He winds up committing adultery in a way that causes his family to turn from him. Divorce ensues.

In her hurt, the wife reaches out to friends for help. Many come to her aid, both male and female. One thing leads to another and she falls into the arms of sin for her comfort.

Divorce leads to the necessity of moving the kids off from their strong support system. The kids, devastated over their family falling apart, made worse by the loss of strong friendships, begin to struggle with the ugliness of life. One falls into depression. Another turns to anorexia. Still another follows the example of the father and falls to addiction to porn. They begin to be snared by a spirit of falsehood, and lies seem easier to them than the truth.

The mother has pressed on to try to get life back where it should be, but one hardship after another knocks her down. Worry over the children, financial issues, discord with the ex-husband, the struggle of new relationships, all of it begins to take its toll on her weary soul.

All these beloved of God are trapped in the wake of sin—their own and that of those near to them.

Wake – The visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water. A track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed. In the aftermath of; as a consequence of.

Sin starts a ripple effect that disturbs all around it. One wave hits, bringing about another, over and over, each building the next until a surge of insurmountable proportion brings flooding and devastation. Many in our day are trapped in the wake of sin. How to get out? That is the question.

Over the next few days we will look at this phenomenon and discover the answers to the following questions:

  • Did God, who is Holy, allow the sin? Why or why not?
  • What is one to do who finds themselves caught in such a wake?
  • How do we recoup?
  • How do we press forward?

Beloved, no one living in this world is immune to sin, and sin can and will clutch the lives of even the most godly if it is given the opportunity of a crack in our defenses. My hope is that by the end of this series, we will not only have the answers to the above questions, but that we will know and understand this word from James:

“…do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” ~ James 4:5-6.

 

 

 

Look the Right Way!

MM900395755[1]“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy and loving-kindness for us” ~ Psalm 123:2, AMP.

Several months ago God instructed my heart that “A Storm” is coming to our land and He began using me to call many to prayer.

When Sandy hit, I said, “Lord, is this it?”

“No,” He replied, “This is only a part of the greater.”

Then He impressed on my heart that our nation will see its economy crumble and immorality increase like a storm never seen before in our land. So we watch and we pray.

MP900443311[1]Over the past numerous days God has been instructing my heart, and these words penned in a devotional by Sarah Young in her book “Jesus Today” sum it all up: Look the Right Way!

As I have pondered all that God is speaking to me through His word and the words of His People, I realized that I have gained 10 pounds since God’s warning me of The Storm to come. Though I thought I was keeping eyes on Him, I would say that I am stress eating, which signals me that my eyes are looking in the wrong direction.

What if things fall apart? Is that not what we anticipate as a sign that Christ’s return draws near? Does the chaos in the earth make God any less capable of tending to His Own? Have not many generations seen similar storms blow through and lived to tell of the Wonderworks of God in seeing them safely to the other side? “Look the Right Way, Darlene, and press forward with hope.”

I know not what “tomorrow” holds, but I know Who holds “tomorrow”.  He has a purpose in all things, and it is for eternal good and glory. I can rest in Him Who is my Rest, Strong Tower, Secret Hiding Place, Firm Foundation, and Possessor of my soul. He is my Rock out of which the Stream of refreshing and provision come. He is Hope and Song. He sees! Nothing escapes His notice and He cares for all that concerns me and those with me who seek to Look the Right Way. When I look at Him and keep my eyes on Him and His purpose, I find peace that passes understanding and hope beyond measure.

As I have looked at Him, He instructed me on some important things I am to give myself to: loving Him first and foremost, and others as I should be loving myself. My eating is not a loving act toward me, nor Him whose temple I am, so that has got to change. Relationships are vital in this hour, and the busyness of life threatens that, so I must be deliberate in taking time for others.

I must keep up my ponderings, reflecting on the things God shows me and sharing them with you in the hope of being a help to lift youdreaming and happy up in these difficult days ahead. Too often we read His word, hear Him speak, and go off never giving Him time to fully instruct and transform us by His Word. Taking time for reflection, “Pondering these things” as Mary did, is vital to our weathering the storm ahead.

And rest is vital in these days; not only the rest of leisure time that physically rests our weary bodies, but entering into His rest despite the approaching storm. We learn in Hebrews that entering His rest comes through faith that believes God and takes action through obedience. We are not without Hope. He is our Hope. But Hope is most often missed because of unbelief that leads to actions of sin—going against God’s expressed instruction.

Join me, and Look the Right Way, my friend, as the days unfold before us, and smile as the rays of Hope lead you surely through the storms of life.

~*~

Bigger God“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle (forbearing) spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” ~ Philippians 4:4-9, NASB.

The Conversation

The Conversation, recorded below, was given to me, a humbled follower of Christ. I am Darlene, and I currently suffer with Complicated Grief Disorder (CGD), an emotional disorder kin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that presents with the same symptomology and is given the same treatment regimen. It is the result of the breakdown of normally good coping mechanisms, brought about by some stressor in life that snaps that system. As a result, I struggle often with almost agoraphobic social anxiety. It is most difficult during the holidays when my stressor has to be faced as family gatherings begin. While looking for some other recorded document, I ran across this and am encouraged again. Here is the story of how the conversation recorded below came to be.

As part of God’s treatment regimen in helping me to deal with my CGD, God led me to the study of Christian Counseling with Light University. Preparing for a trip to Nashville for graduation from that first stage of study and for an American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference, my social anxiety flaring severely, I recall a scripture I received via email from Bible Gateway that kept coming to mind. Going through my deleted files, I discover many others and begin printing them and taping them to index cards that I can carry with me for meditation while on the trip. Reading through the compilation of scriptures God highlighted to my heart, I am amazed to find the conversation I now share with you.

Father, I pray for all into whose hands you put this conversation. May their hearts be helped as they truly comprehend this being from You for them, as much as it was for me. I pray that all the days of their lives will be filled with the sure knowledge of Your presence and Your rich rewards promised to those who choose to believe.

~*~

The Conversation

~*~

Living Water
Living Water

 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. …You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. …I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. …You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.”

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. …The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. …The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. …So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

~*~

(Psalm 121:1-2; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 48:17; Psalm 16:8; 119:114; Isaiah 41:10; 40:31; Psalm 121:7-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:35-36)

Rejoice!

I love this picture depicting the character of Christ. He was a man of many sorrows, yes. He had a lot of heartache come to His life. But I do not believe He was a sorrowful man. I believe He laughed often, for He lived the Word of God and God’s word says that a joyful heart (laughter) is good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22).

 Our nation is going through hard days right now. We have a lot of heartache come into our lives. But we, too, as God’s people, need to take care that the sorrows coming at us do not make us sorrowful people.

God’s word in Philippians encourages us to live lives of rejoicing in the Lord. When we look at our problems in life, when we focus on the struggle, the hardship, or evil’s progress, we are crushed and destroyed. It is vital in these days that our focus be on God, and our hope be strengthened by His every word that tells us who He is at all times, even when life seems hard.

Paul says it. For our encouragement, I repeat it; “Rejoice! And again I say, ‘Rejoice’.”

~*~

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle, forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:4-9, NASB; See also the AMP version).

In the Flow of “Now” Living

“…Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:8-16, AMP).

I have feasted on this promise for a very long time now, God highlighting it as true for me, something I can count as a done deal by His grace. As yet I do not fully comprehend all this means, but I am beginning to get glimpses.

The other day I received the following Spirit of Prophesy Bulletin from Faith Tabernacle: a devotional thought written to the body of Christ as from the Lord. It often speaks to me on a personal level, and this day struck me as something worth heeding. Quoting “The Trumpet” devotion by Bill Burns for 10/15/12:

“‘I have set those in this earth, those who are My psalmists, and they shall establish a flow, a flow of My river among My people, a flow that will help My people come higher, a flow of My presence. Because their songs come from heaven and their songs are anointed, they shall indeed impact you and bring you into what I am doing. So when you hear the sound of heaven impacting your heart and when you hear the sound of heaven coming upon you embrace it and let it do its work. Let it bring peace to your soul, let it bring joy to your heart and let it bring healing to your body. Let the Spirit of the Lord flow in the sound that I am bringing forth as promised. For such a time as this embrace My sound,’ says the Lord Most Holy.”

This is my heart’s desire, to be one who sets the flow that encourages and helps others come up higher. Perhaps today can be a beginning.

This morning, before ever cracking open God’s book, He spoke peace to my heart as I began typing thoughts into my journal. I suddenly knew that fretting over things in life not being as I would like or ever dreamed it would be is wasted energy and trashed time.

There is a poem God gave my heart a long time ago and I quote it often.

†   Yesterday is gone

†   Tomorrow may never be

†   Now is all the time

†   God has gifted me

†   Will I use it well

†   Or waste it in the way

†   Time will surely tell

†   The choice I make today

 Life is too short to waste one moment of it on yesterday’s whoa. What might have been is not what is. Fretting over what others did to us and the place their hurt now has us only empowers their hurt to continue ruling our lives. We throw away what we have, giving precious time to nothingness by worrying about the “might have been.”

I am not alone in this struggle. I have family members I love dearly and friends too, who are snared by the “what might have been”. No more, I say! No more. Life is too precious to waste. I decided today to give all I have to my now, living to the full and doing the best I can in it, and let God take care of yesterday and tomorrow.

One of my daughters said something that struck me and may be the source of this decision. Quoting as best I can recall, “I made the best decision I could back then with the information available to me at the time. I am not going to waste time now second guessing that. What we have now is what is. We have to carry on from here to do the best we can in it.”

Fretting over yesterday is like a CSI climbing in the trash bin of life to pull out dead bodies. Now is what is promised to us. Carry on with me, dear friend, doing your best with the information available to you; “And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.”

The Dream – Part 2

Ploy Uncovered 

Yesterday the battle was revealed, the enemy of the Groom seeks to cut the legs and reproductive canal off the body of the Bride, hindering the bearing of the fruit of Righteousness into the earth. How does he do that? Is it through sin? Yes and no. What do I mean?

Unrepentant sin habits stunt the growth of a Christian and hinder the intimacy of their union with the Groom. But remember in the dream, this is the Bride who intimately loves the Groom and seeks with all her being, even to the loss of her life, to birth healthy righteousness into the earth. So I would say that this is not a professing Christian who is walking as an unrepentant, wayward child of God, never fully developing the intimacy that He intends. This is the mature and growing Bride who desires right and intimate relationship with the Groom at all cost, and she seeks to protect the birthing of the child into the earth, even if it has to be by C-section. So I do not see sin itself as the issue that hinders and disables this Bride, but some attack from this enemy of God that cripples and disables, leading to a sin struggle beyond one’s ability to cope apart from the grace of the Divine. Why?

Because as a mature Christian, this Bride is vigilant against sin and seeks quickly to turn back to the Father to walk with Him in His way. She understands that her sins repented of are covered by the blood of the Son, her Groom. So what do I see that Satan is using to lop the legs and ability to bear off of this mature, vital and productive Bride?

~*~

Guilt / Shame:

Satan can trip up even the mature: that is clear. This Bride, mature of faith and growing, recognizes her sin—generally very fast, and repents quickly. When Satan cannot lop off our legs by leading us into a life of habitual and continuous sin, he will try the next best thing, snaring us in guilt and shame. “How can ‘I’ go forth to bear Righteousness when ‘I’ am so worthless,” he says to our minds. Stunned by some fall, though we got back up and turned to the right path, if we are not mindful to the voice of the Father, we will believe this suitor’s lie spoken as our own thought. Though we press forward when so snared, our gait is slow, the path arduous, and we too often hit a gap we cannot cross because we receive the thought as true and forget the Cross of our Groom.

So let’s just put that one to bed right now. Guess what? We are worthless—apart from Christ. Even our greatest good is as filthy rags before our holy God. Thus enters the Groom to grab our hand and remind us of His covering. We are set free indeed through Christ. When God looks at us, He sees us as righteous because He sees us through the covering of the Savior.

We are worthless in our own right. But to God? By His grace, we are PRICELESS; so priceless and desirous that He loves us, and He loves us so much that He gave His Son on our behalf, the propitiation for our sin. In Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). So, in the name of Jesus, as representing Him and His interests, tell the devil where to go, forgive yourself, and get on with the bearing of the righteous seed within you. Otherwise you risk…

~*~

Discouragement / Despair:

When we cannot forgive ourselves, trust the covering of God, and speak truth to counter the lies of the enemy-suitor who wants to turn the grace of God to foolishness that is useless to the nurturing of the righteous seed within us, discouragement and despair make that seed sickly. Jesus is our Righteousness. He covers us with His blood of cleansing and He has put His Spirit within us: the seed of righteousness. That seed will bear forth if we faint not in the battle because the seed is the source of our ability to bear the produce of God’s Righteous Lot. The seed, the Spirit of God in us, will grow and bear its fruit if we will only believe and surrender to its work. Realizing where our righteousness comes from will protect us from guilt and shame that brings discouragement and despair.

Are we to live righteously and be righteous? Yes. But we can do nothing apart from Christ at work within us. And when we fall only to get back up and press forward anew, we can trust the cover of Christ that reveals His righteousness on our behalf. So don’t give up and don’t give in to discouragement and despair over your own struggle with the enemy suitor. That only leads to…

~*~

Fear / Unbelief:

One of the enemy suitor’s greatest instruments of destruction is fear. If he can lead us into fear, he can trap us there in unbelief. Fear is rooted in and fed by unbelief. If we believe God truly loves us purely, we believe He can and will supply all we need to succeed in fulfilling His intent and purpose, and we have courage and confidence in Him to press forward to reach the goal He sets before us knowing that He will protect His purpose and plan in us. Fear and unbelief are vitally linked in order to destroy our ability to trust that we hear from God or that He will supply us to have what it takes to get the job done.

God’s word in John 10 promises that those vitally linked with Jesus know His voice and follow Him and the stranger’s voice they simply will not follow. Part of what makes one mature in Christ is growing faith in knowing His voice and following Him. He speaks to us in ways we can recognize. The enemy suitor, the antichrist, wants us to doubt the voice of God and fear moving forward. Getting us trapped in this cycle of fear fed by unbelief leads quickly to …

~*~

Self-preoccupation / protection:

Oh my! This one slipped up to grab me and I am still fighting this battle, unsure really how to walk free. But I know God has the answer…God IS the Answer.

I have shared many times about the paranoia my dad is trapped in. He accuses those who love him most of doing things to and against him that they would never think to do, and there seems to be no changing his mind on what he believes to be true. After many years of dealing with this and watching it get worse, one day I heard the lie spoken as from my own thoughts and physically felt something in my psyche snap like the pop of breaking a stick in two. By way of reminder, this is the way it went:

“‘I’ CANNOT do THIS (deal with daddy) anymore.” SNAP!

To which I, replying to what I believed was my own thought, said, “That’s right! I cannot do this anymore.” Agreement. Two or more in agreement has power, whether for good or for harm.

I have struggled with stagnation and hindrance ever since, trapped in all kinds of fear and anxiety over the issue, some reasonable, some ridiculous, but all leading to a discouragement and despair over the situation that has me absolutely snared by self-preoccupation and self-protectiveness. “I can’t deal with it anymore.”

And you know what, that is true. “I” can’t. I am worn out from it. I am so grieved over daddy’s struggle and accusations that I cannot bear to hear it any more. It is beyond me. And there is where my thoughts are trapped and snared up in the line of one “I can’t” after another.

Trapped by a long line of self-preoccupied and protective statements, I struggle to press forward in that area of life, and it affects my ability to press forward in other relationships as well. Where dealing with daddy is concerned, I can do no less than to grasp the hand of the Beloved who reaches out to walk with me in bearing forth Righteousness into the situation. I cannot move to function without Him. The enemy suitor of self-preoccupation and protectiveness fights against my grasp constantly. When the Beloved gets through to grab hold on me, I go forth with power to perform that is all and only that of my Beloved’s working through me; and the victory of it lifts me for a time. Then, unwittingly, I slip back into self-preoccupation and protectiveness, my legs lopped off to half of the pelvis, and the battle begins again.

Preoccupation with self and protection of one’s own in this way quickly can lead to…

~*~

Disunity / Starvation:

For a long while in this struggle I found it difficult to be around others. I could read God’s word, and somehow He always spoke to me through it, but my focus was off. I know His loving, caring presence constantly, ministering to my hurt, but often still I find prayer illusive—deliberate, focused prayer that is. In this struggle with my pain, though God is very near me and I am acutely aware of Him, I see two major ploys listed above in play:

Guilt and shame over the fact that I cannot deal with daddy and do what I feel I should be doing as his eldest daughter. Worried about what others think of me as I feel I have deserted daddy and the rest of the family.

Then there is fear: fear of my family turning from me in their own struggle with anger brought about by this situation we are in. They appear to understand my struggle and often comfort me in it, but still the fear of losing them is there. And finally, social anxiety with others: feeling that if my own daddy cannot see who I really am and that I would never do the things he thinks I have done, how can I trust anyone else to love me and know me?

This guilt, shame and fear have led to “feelings” of disunity, being unable to relate comfortably and confidently with family, friends or church family. I am not feasting in the food found in relationships with others, and am starving for companionship as a result. This struggle has at times led to…

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Procrastination / Misappropriation:

I procrastinate on things I need to do, but that put me into a vulnerable position. When opportunity to gather with others comes, social anxiety leads me to hide out, wasting the energy God gives on fretting, worry, and what amounts to my own unrighteous judgment of the hearts of others I fear are judging me. When it is time to plan family gatherings for some special occasion, I drag my feet, if I move at all. Time and attention I should be giving to friends in need and family indeed, I give to anything that will protect me from having to deal with the situation. The worry and fretting over having to deal with others wears me out, so I wind up behind in everyday things that keep the house in order and me ready for meeting together with others. Thus I procrastinate and misappropriate my time and energy when I am deep in my struggle with this family situation. That, then, finds me in the midst of…

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Distraction / Busyness:

I either struggle with distraction, lacking focus to get anything of significance done, or I get myself to a place of being too busy to have time for dealing with such difficult issues. If Satan cannot slow us down in our pursuit of God and His ways, he will throw us into a season of distraction and / or busyness.

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Well, that took an unexpected turn into a personal testimonial that I did not intend. But I trust God did, and that somehow, as you read my personal struggle, you are helped to see and understand your own disabling, enemy-suitor attack, and the path it too often takes us.

Now, let me tell you, I am getting better, and God has used this season to grow me in areas and ways I am not sure I could have learned as well in any other way. So, to keep this from being way longer than it is, next post will cover things God has taught me and how He is growing me through this struggle. God never wastes anything. He lovingly uses it, as a smelter uses fire to remove dross and as Vine Dresser uses pruning shears and manure fertilizer to promote growth. See you back here for the rest of the story.